Location: Arusha, Tanzania
In poor areas, wood, charcoal and leaves are often burned in the open or on old cooking ranges. This often results in the release of gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide that have been shown to be harmful to human health. The use of wood charcoal is also a major cause of deforestation and environmental degradation. According to the World Health Organization, up to 7 million deaths per year have taken place in recent years because of air pollution. Up to 4 million of these mortalities are due to indoor pollution, primarily because of wood smoke and insufficient ventilation systems. Bright Energy Africa (BEA) aims to introduce a healthier, environmentally friendly energy source: cooking briquettes.
Violet Ayoub founded Bright Energy Africa in 2014 with the aim of bringing sustainable, cost-efficient fuel solutions to Tanzania. Her goal is to create a skilled, healthy and passionate Tanzania. BEA was born to tackle a rising environmental problem. More than 83% of Tanzanians are dependent on wood for their energy needs. In urban areas 90% use wood charcoal for cooking. To respond to this problem, BEA created a localized, self-sufficient energy alternative. BEA produces and delivers biomass charcoal in the form of cooking briquettes as a replacement to customary fuel sources like wood and charcoal. BEA also converts agricultural waste into high-density biomass fuel briquettes using kilns developed together with Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering and Vision for Youth, an organization founded by Violet that aims to raise awareness on topics that are relevant to women and youth such as behavioral change, communication skills and environmental conservation. The biggest advantage of the briquettes BEA produces is that they do not produce smoke, which is especially important when most Tanzanians cook indoors. These briquettes also provide higher energy density and are cost-effective; they are over 40% cheaper and last 35% longer than normal charcoal. BEA trains unemployed youth and women in briquette production technology to help them increase their income and pursue a higher standard of living.
Bright Energy Africa’s vision is to provide an affordable and eco-friendly energy source to all low- and middle-income people living in Tanzania. BEA hopes to employ over 90% of all sales positions from underrepresented populations. In 2015, BEA raised $5,000 in seed money from The Resolution Project as well as 71% of their Rockethub campaign to jump start their venture. Bright Energy Africa’s future plans for Tanzania look as bright as the name suggests.
Environmental impact: Avoided carbon emissions, avoided use of fossil fuels & avoided deforestation
Measurement: Bright Energy Africa
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